Louisiana residents living in rural and medically underserved areas of the state will soon have greater access to primary care services due to 14 grant awards that will provide for community health care expansion projects. 

“The grant funds awarded this year will help build the foundation for medical homes in Louisiana’s rural and medically underserved areas where the need for comprehensive health care services is great,” said LDH Secretary Roxane Townsend, M.D.  “This year applicants focused on health information technology, chronic disease management and quality improvement, school-based and primary health care service development and other elements of the medical home model that will create change in Louisiana’s health care system and improve the health status of our state,” she said.

Grantees include Bunkie General Hospital, The Health Enrichment Network, St. Francis Medical Center, Allen Parish Hospital, Primary Care Providers for a Healthy Feliciana, Madison Parish Hospital, St. Charles Community Health Center, Louisiana Rural Health Association, Health Care Centers in Schools, Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center, Riverside Medical Center, St. Frances Cabrini School Based Health Center, Richland Parish Hospital and the Natchitoches Parish School Board.

LDH awarded grants ranging from $20,000 to $75,000.  Funded projects include the development of federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and school-based health centers; primary care, dental and mental health service expansions; a youth dental sealant program; electronic medical record implementation and upgrades; chronic disease management programs to address diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and other chronic illnesses;  medical equipment purchases; and health and wellness education programs.

The grants were awarded through the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health’s Community-based and Rural Health Program.  The $1 million program is funded through an appropriation from the Louisiana State Legislature.  Public or nonprofit health care organizations located in rural areas, health professional shortage areas or underserved areas identified through legislation were eligible to apply for grants to fund health care projects.